February 25, 2020

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HUD Brings Fair Housing Act Charges Against New York Landlord

HUD Brings Fair Housing Act Charges Against New York Landlord

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has announced charges of violation of the Fair Housing Act against a landlord in Hamburg, New York.

The landlord, named in the HUD complaint as Thomas Frawley, is charged with “refusing to rent to and making discriminatory statements about families with children” according to a press release at the FHA/HUD official site.

Fair Housing Act laws make it illegal to discriminate against those seeking housing (rental or purchase) because of family status including having children below the age of 18 years old.

There are certain exceptions for age-restricted housing; the HUD official site reminds, “Housing may exclude children only if it meets the Fair Housing Act’s exemption” for certain types of housing meant only for older tenants. The charges in this case have nothing to do with housing for older renters.

“Denying a family the opportunity to obtain housing because they have children is akin to slamming a door in their face,” said Anna Maria Farias, HUD’s Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, who was quoted in the HUD press release.

Farias adds, “This charge reflects HUD’s ongoing commitment to taking appropriate action whenever landlords and property owners fail to meet their obligations under fair housing laws.”

According to the HUD press release, the complaint in the case involves the owner (Thomas Frawley, named above by HUD in the Fair Housing complaint) allegedly refusing to rent a one-bedroom unit to an applicant “because he has a son who would stay with him three times a week. HUD’s charge further alleged that the owner stated that he did not want any children living at the property, citing parking concerns”.

Fair housing cases like these are typically brought before a United States Administrative Law Judge “unless any party elects for the case to be heard in federal court”.

Damages may be awarded to the complainants, there may be injunctive relief ordered, and civil penalties. Those found to be responsible for fair housing violations may be required to attend training, and create new anti-discrimination policies in the workplace to avoid future violations from happening.

We report on cases like these because discrimination at any stage in the housing process can seriously interfere with a house hunter or potential renter’s ability to find and keep reliable, affordable housing.

If you believe you have experienced discrimination as a renter or home buyer, contact the HUD Office of Fair Housing at 1-800-669-9777 (or 1-800-927-9275 for TTY calls).

Bruce Reichstein - Staff Writer

By Bruce Reichstein

October 1, 2019

Bruce Reichstein has spent over three decades as an experienced FHA and VA home loan mortgage banker and underwriter where he was responsible for funding “Billions” in government backed mortgage loans. He is the Managing Editor for FHANewsblog.com where he educates homeowners on the specific guidelines for obtaining FHA guaranteed home loans.

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